In general, it is not easy to see forest raptors. Observing the Harpy Eagle, a low density species, can be more difficult still. But for many bird watchers this eagle is one of the “most wanted” species on their life lists. And it is no surprise why. It is the largest raptor in the Americas, a top predator, and the most powerful raptor in the world.
Researchers have sporadically seen this eagle in Belize over the past decade. However, only a few short months ago, a team of investigators found the first active nest reported for this species in this country for over 60 years.
This incredible find injects a breath of hope for the conservation of the Harpy Eagle in this small Central American country. Now, scientists are concentrating on monitoring the movements of the adults and the juvenile. They hope to learn more about their diet, behavior, and movements. They are also looking for new nests in areas close to the territory occupied by this pair.
As a top predator, the Harpy Eagle plays a key role in maintaining a balance in the ecosystem where it lives. Like other top predators, it helps control prey populations. While few animals, apart from humans, will attempt to hunt an adult Harpy Eagle, the nestlings and newly fledged young can fall prey to other wildlife.
At Whitehawk, we are planning several trips to key sites in Central America that will allow us to observe this incredible eagle. Check out our Panama: Realm of the Harpy Eagle tour in the highly biodiverse region of Darien, eastern Panama.